We’re two weeks into Donald Trump’s impeachment, and thus far the media has generally done a strong job of covering it. Pundits and cable news hosts have stepped up their game and gotten a lot better at calling out Team Trump’s lies for being lies. With the obvious exceptions (most of Fox News for instance), most Americans are being given a pretty accurate picture of what’s going on. Still, there’s one key aspect of Trump’s impeachment that’s being largely ignored – and it’s time to talk about it.
This weekend the news surfaced that the CIA has made a criminal referral against Donald Trump to the Department of Justice. This is just the latest evidence that, the minute Trump is no longer president and someone legitimate is in charge of the DOJ, we’ll likely see Trump indicted and arrested on federal criminal charges. Even if this somehow doesn’t happen, it’s confirmed that New York already has a grand jury targeting Trump for indictment on state charges.
The minute Trump is no longer president, he’ll be handcuffed. He knows it too. Maybe he’s arrogant enough to think he can beat the charges at trial, but he’s going to be arrested, and he’ll be put through the legal process. This isn’t some kind of wishful thinking. It’s just what the facts point to happening – and it’ll have a major impact on Trump’s impeachment.
Even if Donald Trump decides he wants to resign and walk away and declare victory before articles of impeachment can be ratified against him, he can’t do that. If he tries it, he’ll be arrested. Again, even if the DOJ ends up taking a pass on him, New York State is clearly gunning for him. If Trump decides he wants to bail, or if he concludes that he’s going to be ousted, or if he concludes that he’s going to lose the 2020 election, he’ll have to try to negotiate a resignation plea deal that includes some kind of reduced criminal charges.
The impending criminal charges against Donald Trump change the entire calculus of his exit, and pundits need to be addressing it. Some of them are probably afraid to bring it up, for fear that the fatalists out there will accuse them of wishing thinking. But it’s a fact that Trump is facing indictment and arrest once he’s no longer president, and to ignore that is to give an inaccurate representation of what’s going through Trump’s mind as he tries to decide how to move forward.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report